Paris, bis, & on

After the reading in Luxembourg, held in the context of a “Romanian contemporary arts” season in the Grand-Duchy, where I represented the “local” Lux poet reading with two Romanian “guest” poets, & after the three of us did a non-attended reading at the FNAC bookstore in Metz (that’s like having to do a non-advertised reading with, well, two Romanian poets, in the Barnes & Ignoble of a mid-sized Arkansas town), I shot up to Paris on the old TGV train — it took 3.5 hours, while in my student days that trip took 4.5 hours, and when I will next travel the same route on 25 June, the new TGV will take 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Paris as always a treat. This was the “Printemps des Poètes” week & I did a reading at L’Ogre à plumes restaurant-theater in the 11th arrondissement (classical small French bar-restaurant with a largish vaulted room downstairs reminiscent of 50ies “existentialist” jazz cellars, set up like a small pocket theater & ideal for readings). The reading was organised by my old French publisher and friend, Jean-Yves Reuzeau around authors published by Le Castor Astral, his publishing house (although my book with them, Le livre de luap nalec, translated by Michel Maire, has long been o.p.) A great pleasure to hang with old friend Jean Portante, the Luxembourg-Italian poet whose new book, Le travail du poumon (The Work of the Lung — or maybe better, Lung’s Labor) may well be his best collection of poems to date. It is made of eight sequences, with the last one being made up of 19 small (one-page maximum) texts that function as a laying out of Portante’s poetics. Here is the first of these pieces in a hasty adhoc translation:


it’s as if I plunged an aspirine into a glass of water. At least that’s what I would like. To dilute the language thus used, so that, dissolved, it lays itself bare, live, as one says of an electric cable, which, when one touches it, puts to death.

The putting to death, would be the story.
My story.
A story which writing has the tendency to wipe out.
But which, disappearing, squirms like a fish kicked out of the water.

The second trip, in early April brought me back to Paris — but more on that in a day or two.

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